Debt cancellation by councils forces decrease in price of basic commodities

Bus5Harare Bureau
The cost of living has fallen by 0,60 percent between June and July this year, a development attributed to a decrease in prices of some basic commodities in various promotions in supermarkets.The volatility of the rand to the US dollar which hovered around approximately R9.80 — R9.90 at the end of May, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe is also a contributing factor to the fluctuations in the basket.

A survey by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe that was carried out using an urban low income earner running a standard family of six, shows that the cost of living fell from $564.73 to $561.32 by 31 July.

The situation is likely to be more favourable to the consumer considering the recent cancellation of local authorities’ bills by the Government.
In a statement the CCZ said price increases were recorded on some products during the period in question, but the decreases became more dominant.

“The cost of living as measured by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe’s low income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six decreased from the June  2013 figure of $564.73 to $561.32 by the end of July 2013, showing a decrease of $3.41 or 0.60 percent.

“The food basket decreased by $3.49 or 2.28 percent from $153.08 in June 2013 to $149.59 in July 2013. Detergents increased by 8 cents or 0.63 percent from US$12.65 to US$12.73,” read part of the statement.

Among the basic commodities whose prices were increased were tea leaves, that went up by 24 cents from US$1.65 to US$1.89 (250g).
Tomatoes (1kg) went up by 10 cents from 65 cents  to 75 cents while cabbage (1kg) increased from 50 cents to 55 cents.

The price of white sugar (2kg) increased by 4 cents from $1.95 to $1.99 and laundry bars went up by 4 cents from $1.25 to $1.29.
Decreases in prices were recorded in meat (beef) which went down by 40c from US$4.30 to US$3.90 (per kg), onions (1kg) by 20 cents from $1.39 to $1.19, flour (2kg) by 11 cents  from $1.99 to $1.88.

The price of rice (2kg) fell from $1.85 to $1.74, margarine (1kg) from $2.42 to $2.23, mealie meal (20kg) from $11.86 to US$11.70, fine salt (500g) from 20 cents to 18 cents, cooking oil (750ml) from $1.79 to $1.78 and bath soap from 87cents  to 85 cents.

The prices of the other basic commodities like fresh milk, bread and washing powder, according to CCZ, remained unchanged from the June 2013 figures.
CCZ acknowledged the increase of petrol price from $1.48 to $1.52 and diesel from $1.33 to $1.37, but said it did not affect the prices of basic goods.

In another statement CCZ hailed the recent decision by the Government to write off all local authorities debts dating back to 2009 when the multi-currency system was introduced.

“The directive by Government for all local authorities to scrap service debts accrued since 2009 is good news to consumers, the majority of whom were straining under the weight of debts and had valid grounds that the service rates were unjustly arrived at.

“The debt cancellation leaves ratepayers with a clean balance going forward. The issue of rates post 2009 was always a contestable affair considering that most local authorities were failing to provide decent services but were still charging ratepayers for services sometimes not rendered.

“It is critical therefore that as all parties involved begin a new lease of life without any debt burdens or issues with anyone; they meet on a blank sheet of paper, a new page from which to start a new life,” read the statement.

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